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Let Hope in: 4 Choices That Will Change Your Life Forever

Let Hope in: 4 Choices That Will Change Your Life Forever

4.8 12
by Pete Wilson

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Hope changes everything.

It can disarm guilt, shatter shame, and put your past in its place. All you have to do is make the choice to let it in. It won’t be easy. It won’t be quick. But it is possible and we serve a God who promises over and over again that anything is possible.

Pete Wilson, pastor and the author of Plan B, presents a


Hope changes everything.

It can disarm guilt, shatter shame, and put your past in its place. All you have to do is make the choice to let it in. It won’t be easy. It won’t be quick. But it is possible and we serve a God who promises over and over again that anything is possible.

Pete Wilson, pastor and the author of Plan B, presents a new look at the power of healing through hope, revealing 4 unique choices that have the potential to change your life forever.

With Wilson’s telltale cadence and candor, Let Hope In explores accounts of seemingly hopeless moments in the Bible illustrating God’s ultimate plan for healing by letting hope fill the dark places of your past.

Discover how pain that is not transformed becomes transferred. Embrace the freedom of being okay with not being okay. Learn that a life of trusting is far more magnificent than a life of pleasing. Because hurt people hurt people, but free people have the power to free people.

So make today the day that you get unstuck. The day you fill your past with the light of hope, the day you say good-bye to regret and shame. The day you choose to change your future and embrace who God created you to be, simply by making the choice to let hope in.

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4 Choices That Will Change Your Life Forever


Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2013 Pete Wilson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8499-6526-5



I do some of my best dreaming with my boys. We love to sit in our screened-in porch off the back of our house and just talk. Recently, I proposed the question I often do with them regarding the future. "What do you guys want to be when you grow up?" I love asking my boys this because it changes about once a month and is usually dependent on the last movie they've watched.

My youngest, Brewer, went first. "I want to be a policeman," he said boldly.

My middle son, Gage, took a little more time to think before he sheepishly said, "I think I might want to be a teacher like Pee-Paw."

Then Jett, my oldest, said, "Dad, I want to be an NFL football player. What I can't figure out, though, is whether I'll play in college or if I'll just skip college and go straight to the NFL."

We sat there for a second just staring at each other when Brewer looked at me and asked, "Dad, do you think you'll still be a pastor when you grow up?"

For a moment I forgot about reality and enjoyed having a blank slate from which to dream.

I love the idea of not being "grown up" yet. In my mind that means I still have more ahead of me than behind me. It means I can dream without all the restrictions of reality that comes along with getting older. It means it is still possible for me to become the person I really want to become.

I think most of us are pretty hopeful about the future. We carry our dreams around believing that one day we'll give birth to them. We generally believe that tomorrow is going to be better than today. We like to think that our careers will head in the right direction, our relationships will become even richer, and that the sense of purpose we're chasing after will finally be fulfilled.

But there's one thing often standing in the way of this desirable future we all hope and long for: our seemingly unforgettable past.

The reality is that the best predictor of our future is, in fact, our past. What we have done in the past is probably what we will do in the future, unless there have been some big changes, some monumental transformation.

And I want to start by asking important questions: Do you like who you're becoming? Who you're growing up to be? Really?


I first met Kim at the church that I pastor in Nashville. She was waiting to speak to me after one of the weekend worship experiences when I saw her eyes. While I happily continued somewhat meaningless small talk with a few people, I was eager to hear what she wanted to talk about. I could tell her heart was heavy and that she was about to explode if she didn't talk to someone soon.

Our conversation was surprisingly quick and unemotional, but she made it clear that she needed to sit down and talk as soon as possible. I felt God prompting me to make it happen quickly.

We soon found time to meet, and similar to our last brief encounter, it was clear that Kim was ready to get down to business.

"My life is a wreck," she blurted out.

My first admittedly insensitive thought was, Well, join the club. The reality is nobody usually asks to meet with a pastor because they want to share how pleasant life is.

She continued, "I'm sure you hear a lot of crazy stuff, but I need you to know before I share with you that I really am a good person. I mean, I'm not good, but I love God and I want to do the right thing, but I screw up so often."

My experience is that it takes most people longer to set up their confession than it takes to actually confess. Kim, however, eventually got around to pouring out her heart. It turns out that she had made some really poor relationship choices over the past year and a half. She had been involved sexually with three different men, two of which had been married at the time of her relationship with them.

She was sorry, broken, repentant.

But she was also confused.

She sobbed, "Why do I keep doing this? Why do I keep hurting myself and the people around me? Why? Why?"

While this statistic is unsubstantiated, I would guess that I have no answer for 90 percent of the questions that are asked in my office. Sure, I've got guesses and opinions, but after eighteen years of ministry, I have to admit that I often feel more lost today than when I started.

But as Kim and I continued to talk that day, there was a major theme that emerged: her past.

Kim had spent a good portion of her life trying to win her father's attention, his approval, and ultimately, his love. She shared with me story after story of how she fell short of his expectations and failed to show up on his radar.

Interestingly enough, Kim's first affair was with her boss. As we talked about that relationship, I learned that it started because he was simply kind, understanding, and genuinely concerned about her. These were all qualities she wished her father would have had.

Now don't misunderstand me: I'm not trying to excuse the decisions that followed. I'm not trying to pin this on her father. I just want to point out that we can't deny the role her past wounds were playing in her current decisions.

A heartrending thing about us humans is that we seem to be hardwired to replay the past—especially when our past includes pain and disappointment. We all have natural inclinations and, at times, compulsions to allow our past to deeply impact our present.

And your past is not your past if it's still impacting your present.

Ever wonder why we make a handful of New Year's resolutions every year but rarely keep them? And if we do, we almost never see a lasting change?

Ever wonder why we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over?

Ever wonder why we have such a difficult time maintaining healthy relationships?

Of course you have. We all have.

Is it because we're not disciplined enough? Is it because we don't want it bad enough? While the answer to either of those questions could obviously be yes, I think it's much deeper than that.

When we keep struggling with the gnawing question of "Why am I not getting what I want in life?" one of the questions behind it may be "What am I still carrying with me from my past?"

Whether our pain is close to the surface or hidden deep within our hearts, what happened in our past, if not dealt with properly, is more than likely crippling us from becoming who we were created to become.

But the good news is, who we were yesterday doesn't have to limit who we can be today!

Some of my most popular messages over the years have been on loving others. I'm not sure I have ever met someone who didn't want to love others more radically.

I believe many people listen to these messages on love with hopes of being inspired to live a life of "love." And trust me, I know how to deliver messages that inspire people to love more. But I'm afraid there's a deeper problem.

While many of us have been inspired to love more and have set our hearts on loving more, some of us, in fact, fail miserably when it comes to loving more. The problem is not inspiration. The problem is not what I call "want to." The problem is, we may not have the wholeness to love and live the way we want to.

I'm learning that everyone needs healing. Everyone has been hurt. Some of us have been hurt worse than others, but no one escapes this life without some emotional bruising along the way. And if we haven't dealt with the hurt from our past, it will continue to impact everything we touch.

In other words: If we don't learn to transform the pain, we'll just transfer it.

Your secret sin nobody knows about.

The broken marriage you went through.

The sexual abuse you suffered.

The surprise divorce your parents got.

The miscarriage you experienced.

The bully who made your freshman year miserable.

Your overbearing, critical parent.

Any or all of these things can and most usually will have a tremendous impact on our lives. If we don't find ways to learn from our past, we will almost always be doomed to repeat it.

Maybe what's going on in your life is you're seeking healing for what is still an open wound. Maybe you're longing for the sewing up of something that has long remained ripped and ragged.

Awareness of our past doesn't always come easy. What does come easy is denial. We are quick to intentionally bury emotions that make us feel ashamed or uncomfortable. We confuse what we're feeling with what we think or have been told we should be feeling.

To complicate matters further, there tends to be a pervasive attitude in some circles of the church that communicate that once you give your life to Christ, once you've become a Christian, you at least need to act like you've got it all together.

Read your Bible.

Wear your mask.

Put your best foot forward.

Look happy.

But whatever you do: Don't be a whiner. Don't ask questions. Don't be a pain. Don't be a burden.

I'm not sure where this attitude comes from, but I think it originates with fear. We don't want people to share their broken dreams, hurts, or pain because we're afraid we won't have all the answers.

Is it possible we're afraid that God won't be able to really heal us?

Are we afraid that admitting pain and brokenness somehow discounts our salvation experience? If when we put our faith and trust in Jesus—the old becomes new—why don't we feel new? Why don't we feel transformed? Are we praying wrong?


One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the account of Joseph. Talk about a tumultuous past.

Joseph was the youngest of twelve boys. It's tough being the youngest, isn't it? My youngest, Brewer, is six and has one goal in life. Well, actually two. The first one is to be able to accurately hit the toilet while standing up to pee. But his main goal in life is getting his two older brothers to acknowledge him. He watches everything they do and follows them from activity to activity. So whether it's playing PlayStation, wrestling in the living room, or competing in a game of touch football in the front yard, Brewer is going to be in the middle of it. And nothing, I mean nothing, brings a bigger smile to his face than when his older brothers invite him into their world.

Joseph was favored by his father, which put him at obvious odds with the rest of his brothers. They were filled with incredible jealousy toward him. They beat him up, threw him into a pit, sold him into slavery, and pretended he was dead.

That would be a devastating series of events for any young person, but imagine all of that happening by the hand of your own brothers from whom you crave love and acceptance. Can you imagine how devastating that moment must have been as he looked up from the pit, broken and bruised, only to see the face of his brothers laughing at him?

It's funny how when someone says they love you, you can't really feel it, but when someone says or shows they "don't love you anymore," you feel every ounce of it draining out of your entire being.

The rejection of his brothers would just be the beginning for Joseph. He would go on to be falsely accused of rape and thrown into prison where he spent day after day wondering where things went wrong, wondering why his brothers hated him. Why had his past been so full of injustice?

Through a remarkable series of events, not only was Joseph released from prison, but he eventually rose to second in command over all of Egypt.

While Joseph was helping lead Egypt, the country endured a vicious drought that forced his brothers to travel to him seeking food for their families. It's a long story, but eventually not only was Joseph reunited with his brothers, but he also forgave them. In a powerful moment, he looked them in the eyes and said, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Gen. 50:20 NASB, emphasis mine).

Another way of putting it is, you meant harm, but God had a different plan. Joseph didn't try to deny the past. He didn't pretend that his brothers had never hurt him deeply. But he has the grace to grieve it rather than transfer it.

I love the phrase "but God" and believe a case could be made that it's one of the most important phrases in the entire Bible. This phrase is used throughout Scripture as a turning point, a line of demarcation between peril and rescue, chaos and control, fall and redemption, hurt and healing.

But God! Every time I read a verse that says "but God," it is fantastically good news. There are literally hundreds of verses that have "but God" in both the Old and New Testaments:

The psalmist in Psalm 73:26: "My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever."

Jesus in Matthew 19:26: "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible."

The apostle Paul in Acts 13:29–30: "When they had done all that the prophecies said about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead!"

Once we were dead in sin, but God made us alive! Once we were captive to our past, but God made us free! Once we were unworthy, but God has promised to spend eternity unwrapping the riches of his grace in kindness toward us!

There's no way around the past. No matter how hard you try, you can't erase it. The goal here is not to become a person who doesn't have a history—that's impossible and useless. The goal is to find a new way of working with the past so it does not continue to impact our future. The goal is to fight the inner urge we all have to return to the past.


At our church we say, "Everyone is welcome, because nobody is perfect, but anything is possible." I really believe that. I believe that no matter what you've done, where you've been, no matter how far you feel from God today, we worship a God of open arms. A God who says everyone is welcome.

Not only do I believe that "everyone's welcome, because nobody's perfect," I'm also relentlessly committed to the idea that "anything's possible." And I think you may be too. Perhaps it's why you picked up this book. You know that transformation in your life is possible. You know that healing is possible. There's something inside of you that says there's more to this existence here on this earth. You long to become the man or woman God created you to be when he thought you into existence.

We love to cheer for the underdog and believe in our core that every life makes a difference. And we are right. There is no one God can't use and no one whose brokenness is too broken for God. We know this is true for our friends when we want to encourage them. Yet, when it comes to the places of our innermost sense of shame and regret, we often wonder if it is really true that God can work all things together for good for those who love him.

This is what you need to know going into a future that you desperately hope will be different: from the very moment humanity fell into sin, God's plan, God's passion, has been to redeem us and restore us to the life for which we are made.

God is bigger than your history and more concerned with your destiny.

This act of grace, this act of forgiveness, this act of restoration God wants to give. It cannot be forced.

Like anything from God, it has to be received like a gift freely, willfully, and intentionally. This book is about how we receive this gift God so willingly desires to give to us. This book is about dreaming again. This book is about learning to transform the pain so we no longer transfer it.

In the chapters that follow, we will be exploring how many of our choices in life and relationship are tied to our past. Our goal is to break the hold the past has over us, keep what is useful, but also confront the things that limit our ability to live the life God created us to live. And so begins the journey—a journey that you've wanted to take for a very long time, a journey toward hope.



When Will Porter was just eight years old, his life was good. He spent his days playing on the playground, fishing, and enjoying friends as every little boy should. He grew up in an upper-class home where he was blessed to have everything he needed and most things he wanted.

His parents had enrolled him in one of the best schools around. Will says he still remembers the day his school hired a new choir director. This was a big deal because Will, like many of his friends, loved being a part of the choir.

This new choir director came with an impressive résumé. Everyone in the small community of Easton, Maryland, was elated that their kids would get the opportunity to be mentored by someone of his caliber.

As everyone expected, the director took the choir to new heights. Before long, Will and the other boys had the privilege of performing across the country. Everyone knew the credit went to the new choir director. What everyone didn't know is that every time the director was alone with young Will, the director would molest him.

Excerpted from LET HOPE IN by PETE WILSON. Copyright © 2013 Pete Wilson. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.


Meet the Author

Pete Wilson is the founding and senior pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Pete desires to see churches become radically devoted to Christ, irrevocably committed to one another, and relentlessly dedicated to reaching those outside of God’s family. Pete and his wife, Brandi, have three boys.

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Let Hope in: 4 Choices That Will Change Your Life Forever 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
mojo_turbo More than 1 year ago
Pete Wilson is the founding and senior pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee, Pete gained national attention in 2010 when Thomas Nelson published his best-selling book, Plan B (which I also recommend). His latest book; Let Hope in: 4 Choices That Will Change Your Life Forever is well on its way to being just as successful. When things seem at their bleakest, you might hear someone say, “Don’t give up hope.” In the face of despair, sickness and even isolation – hope can be the thing that pulls you through. In this book, author Pete Wilson tells his own story of hope and how you can “let hope in” when things seem their darkest. Wilson offers that hope can be held on to, if we would just make the right choices when they present themselves. Choices like choosing to be okay with not being okay, choosing to trust rather than please and choosing to free people rather than hurt them. Wilson writes a very practical, very approachable book with lots of great stories with some really good biblical truths. This book is very easy to read and would make a great gift for someone who might need that  extra bit of encouragement. Thank you to Thomas Nelson for this review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Let Hope In is a book for everyone in every season of life. No matter who you are, there is something in your life that you are struggling with. This book say's its okay, to not be okay. It says It is alright to admit our struggles. We all can have hope if we let it in. There is a God that is bigger and more powerful than whatever life has thrown at you. This book tells that in order to feel his power, all we need to do is let hope in. I strongly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It's powerful. It's simple. It's the message of Hope. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you find yourself in a season where you feel like you've lost hope, this is just the book to help you find it again. There are so many struggles in life that can make it easy to fall into a sense of hopelessness. With this book, Pastor Pete Wilson shares four choices that we each have that help us find hope again and he then expands on each of those choices with real-life stories (both his own and others) and Scripture that show that concept in action. Wilson writes with a transparency and authenticity that make you feel like a friend is talking to you; his writing is real and honest. Wilson reminds the reader throughout that "Our hope is based on a God who can do and will do the impossible." We just have to trust in Him; He will make all things new no matter what our past looks like or what we think our future might look like. Full disclosure: I was blessed to be a part of the launch team for this book and received a free advance copy in return for an honest review.
FC-Writes More than 1 year ago
Inspirational Pete Wilson (Senior Pastor of Cross Point Community Church in Nashville, TN and author of Plan B) has written a compelling and inspirational book that made me consider my past and gave me workable suggestions to begin to really be free of it.  Inside these pages are 4 choices that the reader can make to begin to live with a hope that transcends the confines of what the world tells us is right or popular.  I loved it and think you will too! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Let Hope In was written by Pete Wilson, who is the founding and senior pastor of Cross Point Church which is one of the fastest growing churches in America. This is his third book and my personal favorite. Though I did enjoy both his first book, Plan B, and his second, Empty Promises. It's funny that I got the opportunity to read Let Hope In at this point in my life, a time when this is exactly the kind of message I needed. I think that that will be the case for many, if not most, of the people who read this book. Because like I said in the introduction, we all go through times where something awful happens and we don't know what to do about it. It's right in the title. Let Hope In. As Pete says, Your past is not your past if it's still impacting your present. In this book, Pete shares some of the stories of people he's counseled over the years and to help us see how our past impacts us. He uses several Biblical stories to help us understand how God wants to heal us from our past and present hurts. I'm really not one to write in books, but I have a feeling that might change with this one. There's just so many good lines and passages in here. Some that I'd like to put up on a wall in a place where I'm sure to see it. Starting with just two words: But God . Those two words and what he says about them have had a major impact on my prayer life. Then I got hit by this gem which I loved: God is bigger than your history and more concerned with your destiny . And that was just chapter 1! I'm a pretty fast reader, but it took me a long time to get through this - not because I wasn't enjoying it, but because it gave me so much to think about. This is going to be one that I'm going to return to over and over again. I believe that Let Hope In is going to be a major blessing to everyone who reads it and I really couldn't recommend it high enough. Get this book. Seriously. Not a Christian? I don't think you have to be in order to get something out of this. You might get a little more out of it if you are a Christian, but this book is very accessible. We could all benefit from a little more hope in our lives. The more hope we have, the better. We just have to choose to let it in. Let Hope In will show you how to do that. *I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Letting go of fear and letting hope in. "Sometimes you have to leave what is nailed down, obvious, and secure, and walk into the unknown without any specifics." I am a fan of Pete Wilson's book. They are written in a way that challenges and encourages me. "Let Hope In" was no different. I actually had some walls up reading this book because I wasn't sure if it would speak to me....but I was SO wrong. Right from the get go, I saw ways that I have been squelching hope in my life and how much I needed to hope again. Through his great storytelling weaved with scripture, Pete takes you on a journey of discovery of the four choices that will change your life forever. I rediscovered the things that had been stealing my joy and hope, and found ways to regain hope in my life! Highly recommend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pete Wilson Does it Again! I know Pete Wilson personally and was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of Let Hope In as part of the Launch Team. What struck me first about this book is the subtitle: 4 Choices That Will Change Your Life Forever. That's a lot of pressure. Forever? That seems a little exaggerated. But, after finishing this book, I truly believe that if you make the choices (which are really stepping stones to the main choice of letting hope in) your life can be changed. These 4 Choices Are: Choice #1: Choosing to Transform Instead of Transfer Choice #2: Choosing to Be Okay With Not Being Okay Choice #3: Choosing to Trust Rather Than Please Choice #4: Hurt People, Hurt People, But Free People Choose to Free People Wilson writes of these "...but God" moments, moments where everything looks like its going off track, moments where life doesn't make sense, moments where there is simply no hope...but God shows up. If your past seems to much to handle, if you can't seem to get over that one thing, if you feel like God isn't showing up, I recommend picking up this book and allowing it to be your "...but God" moment. God speaks through Pete Wilson in Let Hope In in remarkable, challenging, and timely ways, and I pray that this book finds its way into the hands of those who need it most.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whoa, we have a lot of struggles today don't we? It seems we are forever unhappy, stressed out, confused, unsure what to do, who to be, and feel like something is always missing. At least I know that I PERSONALLY have struggled with all of that. Pete Wilson's enlightening and candid words get me every time. He writes beautifully, authentically, and there's even a dash of comic relief in there as well. When we are lost, we must remember there is a God far bigger than us and His plans are far bigger than our plans. When we let the past go, devote our time and energy to becoming all that He wants for us, we CAN live the life we always dreamed of. All it takes is a little hope :) This was an incredible book and I recommend it to all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Your past isn’t your past if it’s still impacting your present.” I have had the privilege to read an advanced copy of “Let Hope In,” the new book by Pastor Pete Wilson, which comes out tomorrow, Oct. 1. I can tell you that this book has blessed me in ways I never imagined. We all need hope. A deeply rooted hope in something that is greater than ourselves. Greater than any thing or any one. Hope than can only come through the source. A loving God. Holding onto baggage from our past sets us up for defeat and a feeling of never being able to “measure up.” We carry shame, guilt and regret into every relationship and situation, only to have those things perpetuate a negative pattern and choices that keep us from having the kind of relationship with God that He longs to have with us. Pastor Pete takes readers on a journey to release the strongholds of the past, learning along the way of the sweetness of hope that comes through a relationship that is pure and true. One with the giver of all hope, Jesus. The book takes readers through a process of changing by focusing on four choices: 1. Choosing to transform instead of transfer. 2. Choosing to be okay with not being okay. 3. Choosing to trust rather than to please. 4. Hurt people hurt people, but free people free people. Choose to free people. It’s not an easy journey, but it is worth it. This book will help you start to transition from painful patterns of the past into the freedom of forgiveness and living a life of complete trust in God. It’s only then can we truly have the kind of hope that we all long for in this life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a member of Crosspoint Church where Pete Wilson preaches I've always loved how his sermons take stories from the Bible and relate them to everyday life. That is no different for this book. Pete takes stories about Joseph, David and others and uses real life  examples to show that your past doesn't have to impact your future. In other words, learn to transform instead of transfer. These are some quotes from the book that really hit home with me: "My hope is based on a God who can do and will do the impossible." "God's main purpose for you is not what you do. It's who you become." "Time doesn't heal all wounds; God heals wounds." The book is broken down into 4 choices that a person must make in order to let hope in. CHOICE 1: Choosing to transform instead of transfer. CHOICE 2: Choosing to be okay with not being okay. CHOICE 3: Choosing to trust rather than please. CHOICE 4: Hurt people, hurt people, but free people, free people. If you want to learn how to no longer hide from your past, but to make your future full of hope, than this book is for you!
CharissaJ More than 1 year ago
This book is an engaging read that encourages the reader to let go of the things in their past which are acting their presents and embrace hope. Wilson has a wonderful writing style that draws you in and makes you feel like he’s speaking right to you; it’s like he’s welcomed you into his home and sat down with you, to have a chat. He shares many anecdotes about his family, friends and people he has met over the years. While their stories may be different from yours, Wilson has the ability to make connections that can impact readers from all walks of life. The book is broken into four main categories, or choices: - Choice One: Choosing to Transform Instead of Transfer - Choice Two: Choosing to Be Okay with Not Being Okay - Choice Three: Choosing to Trust Rather than Please - Choice Four: Choosing to Free People Rather than Hurt Them In each of these sections Wilson discusses how making the right choice can help you to move beyond your past and your struggles and let hope in. No matter what we’re going through in life, we can choose how it affects us and what we take away from it, and we can rely on God’s love to strengthen us. The message of Wilson’s book is very relevant and one that everyone needs to hear. Wherever you may be in your Christian walk, whether you’re going through struggles at this time or not, there is something in this book for you. If you only have time to read one book on faith this year, choose this book and choose to let hope in.